Recently I encountered yet another app on Facebook that required me to “become a fan” and install the app before I could even see what it was, much less whether I liked it enough to become a real fan.
That’s not viral except in the meanest, ugliest sense. Like Ebola. I saw a friend of mine — a trusted source of information — who ostensibly was a fan of this app. So I clicked on it. But when I saw the app’s reputation-extortion scheme, I surfed away, and wondered a bit about my friend.
This is only the most recent smarmy way that app developers have tried to extract virality from their users. There are good ways and not so good ways to do this. Why do developers persist in using techniques that fall into the doing “every horrible thing” category? Isn’t there a better way to go about acquiring customers by social means?